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Red Wings Debut in Eastern Conference Sets Tone

wings first game

DETROIT– The Detroit Red Wings could not have made a better debut in a new conference and division winning 2-1 over division foe the Buffalo Sabres.

Mikael Samuelsson and Pavel Datsyuk led the way with a goal each, and Jimmy Howard had 19 saves to collect his first win as well as the Wings first of the season at Joe Louis Arena Wednesday night.

“I thought we got off to a great start there,” Howard said. “We took a lot of penalties, so we’re going to have to clean that up, especially early on in the year here, where it seems like it’s more tightly called.”

Zemgus Girgenson scored the lone goal for the Sabres and Ryan Miller had 32 saves. The huge blow to the Sabres was their 0-for-7 power play and inability to convert on two 5-on-3 man advantages.”We were right there all night,” Miller said. “We got in a position to tie. I think we were improving as the game went on.”

What I was really impressed most with was how well Detroit’s defensemen played. Grant it Buffalo isn’t the strongest team they moved the puck well and jumped in offensively on a lot of odd man rushes and helped create many opportunities. Jonathon Ericsson created the first goal by rushing the puck into the zone, Danny DeKeyser and Brendan Smith both showed their offensive abilities by moving the puck well and rushing as well.

Detroit raced out to a quick 2-0 lead. The first goal was set up Cory Emmerton who made his way into the zone took a shot. It was deflected out of mid air by Samuelsson, who showed great hand eye cordination on the play putting it top shelf. The next goal was scored by the magician himself Datsyuk. Jonathon Ericsson carried the puck in deep, the puck bounced onto Datsyuk’s stick who then dangled his way to the net and then backhanded one top shelf. It was vintage Datsyuk to say the least.

Tonight, I thought our line did a real good job and obviously Sammy made an unbelievable tip there,” Emmerton said. “As a fourth line, your job is to be hard on teams, have the puck more than them and make it hard for them and when you score goals that just helps the team. I think we did a real good job tonight.”

The Red Wings, who’ve won 12 of their last 13 games against Buffalo at Joe Louis Arena, outshot the Sabres 8-6 in the first period.
Buffalo finally scored with 7:41 left in regulation when Howard misplayed the puck behind the trapezoid. He shot the puck and deflected of a player out front giving Girgenson an open net to bury it home.
Veteran forward Daniel Alfredsson made his Red Wings debut after signing with the club during the offseason. The 40-year-old had three shots on goal in 16:13 of ice time.
The Red Wings travel to Carolina tomorrow to take on the Hurricanes, and then travel to Boston Saturday for a divisional game and  the first of renewed original six rivalry against the Bruins. The Sabres play divisional opponent Ottawa Senators Friday at home and then go on the road Saturday to face the Pittsburgh Penguins

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